Jarren Duran Displays Increased Versatility
When the Red Sox selected Jarren Duran in the seventh round of the 2018 draft, they saw a player with interesting possibility.
Durran's plus-plus speed certainly would play on the bases, and the team believed it would also translate well from his college career as a second baseman to his professional future as an outfielder. He also showed the ability to hit for average and get on base frequently, both in college and in the summer Cape Cod League.
Still, for a player who never hit more than 14 extra-base hits in his three college seasons at Long Beach State, it would have been hard to anticipate the direction of his pro debut in 2018.
In 67 games spent between short-season Lowell and low Class A Greenville, Duran barreled the ball with striking consistency. He hit three homers—one more than he hit in his three college seasons combined—among his 28 extra-base hits while posting a .357/.394/.516 line with 24 steals.
"Even to me it was shocking,” said Duran. "I was like, ‘I wonder when these are going to dry out.’ It was too good to be true.”
Duran’s swing isn’t geared for homers. He’s a high-contact hitter with a relatively flat bat path, and he keeps his barrel in the zone a long time while posting a 15.9 percent strikeout in his pro debut. Last year, Durran was effective at spraying line drives to all fields, thus freeing him to use his speed around the bases.
"I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing—hit the ball to the gaps and try to use my legs,” said Duran.
Duran's first exposure to the outfield came in right field last year, in an effort to replicate the angle to which he was accustomed to at second base during his college career. He spent spring training in center field, however, where his speed can make an ever greater impact.
That positional versatility indicates a player who, less than a year into his pro career, has started to alter his profile. Add that to a seemingly improving offensive impact, and Duran provides intriguing upside to the Red Sox's farm system.
— Righthander Chase Shugart was suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
— Lefthander Darwinzon Hernandez nearly made the big league team to open the year as a member of the bullpen, but the Red Sox elected to send him to Double-A Portland to refine his pitch mix—particularly his changeup—as a starter.